HC Deb 12 October 1939 vol 352 cc555-6W
Major Milner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he is aware of the increasing unemployment in the building industry and allied trades; the difficulty in obtaining mortgage advances by purchasers who have entered into contracts to purchase; and the apprehension and loss caused both by small and large owners and others associated with real property arising from the delay in the setting up of a real property war risks insurance scheme; and will he undertake to give a prompt decision on receipt of the Weir Report;

(2) when the Weir Committee on the War Risks Insurance of Real Property was appointed; on what date did it commence its sittings; on what dates has it continued to sit; what is the reason for the delay in reporting; what steps have been taken to expedite the report; and when may it now be expected to be made public?

Sir J. Simon

Unemployment in the building industry and allied trades is substantially less than it was last year, and I could not accept the implication that the absence of a scheme of insurance against risk of war damage is a main cause of the other conditions referred to. But I agree that it is most desirable to publish the Weir Report and reach a decision upon it as promptly as possible. I had hoped to be able to circulate the report to-day, together with the views of the Government thereon. It will not be possible to complete the White Paper in time for this, but if a question is put to me on Tuesday I expect to be able to announce that it is ready. In the meantime, I must remove any impression of delay. On the contrary, Lord Weir's Committee was constituted on the 27th July; it commenced sitting almost immediately; and when war appeared imminent it willingly undertook, in response to my request, to expedite its work and reach its conclusions with all possible speed.